“I was the strongest from 2001 to 2005”


Valentino Rossi’s active MotoGP career came to an end on November 14, 2021 in Valencia. Rossi left MotoGP with a top 10 finish.

From 1996 the Italian was a regular driver in the motorcycle world championship. During this time he won the championship nine times (7x 500 / MotoGP, 1x 250, 1x 125), had 115 Grand Prix victories and was on the podium 235 times.

“I was the strongest from 2001 to 2005, I think,” commented Rossi, recalling his first years in the premier class. After winning titles in the 125cc and 250cc cc, Rossi rose to the 500cc World Championship in 2000 and drove a Honda NSR500 for the Nastro-Azzuro team.

When Valentino Rossi dominated the premier class

Rossi made a strong impression in his debut season. He won two races and finished the season as runner-up. The following year he secured the final title in the 500cc class. Four MotoGP titles followed, two with the Honda RC211V and two with the Yamaha M1.

First victory in the premier class: Valentino Rossi won in Donington in 2000

Photo: Motorsport Images

In retrospect, three world titles were particularly remembered for Rossi. “During my long career I also had many difficult moments. There were three unforgettable championships that defined my career. These three championships were the most important in my career,” he explains.

These three world titles were particularly remembered by Valentino Rossi

But which titles does Rossi mean? “In 2001, when I won the last 500cc title. Then in 2004, when I won the title with Yamaha in the first year. And then in 2008, when I was already a bit older. Back then, after five consecutive titles, I didn’t have two times won “, he remembers his penultimate MotoGP title.

After five titles in a row, Rossi’s winning streak ended in the 2006 season. Many technical problems and sometimes accidental falls threw Rossi back then. Honda rider Nicky Hayden profited from the problems with the number 46 and took the world title with just two race wins.

The following year, Ducati rider Casey Stoner dominated with the Desmosedici fitted with Bridgestone tires. It was the first season with the 800 cc bikes and Yamaha and Honda were using too conservative concepts and had disadvantages in many races with Michelin tires.

Rossi came back with the world title in 2008 after being beaten twice. “Usually a career is over then. But by switching tires to Bridgestone, I made my comeback at the top. I fought with Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa and won two more championships. Those were the most important moments of my career, I think.” , according to the MotoGP legend.

With images from Motorsport Images.

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